Wrest Or Lever Type Saw Sets


Wrest and lever saw sets were earliest type saw set. The earliest saw sets were pieces of plate iron with slots. Called wrests they were in use into modern times. The slot was slid over the tooth and the handle pushed down bending the tooth. Later examples had stop pieces to control the distance traveled and create a more uniform set. Some are adjustable depending on the size of the tooth. Many examples were hand made some using the ubiquitous file.

List of patent numbers for Wrest or Lever saw sets in this resource patent list


Seymour Smith Patent Oct 4, 1859 #25,681


Advertisement from 1875 Russell & Erwin catalog

For more information on Seymour Smith

Henry Disston Patent May 11, 1875 #163,162

1914 catalog lists two sizes #1 large at 10" and #2 small at 8 3/8"

Brown's set made in Britain

Disston wrest from kit

Otto Frisk Patent Feb 26, 1924 # 1,485,114 & Jacob Buller Jul 21, 1936 #2,048,596

Abel Stillman Patent Sept 26, 1848 #5,810

Top is larger with 4 adjustments uncommon

Bottom smaller 6 adjustments common

Every Stillman made of this pattern has "Stillman's Patent 1848" stamped on it even though it may have been made in the 1890's.  1848 does not mean that it was made in 1848.

Stillman non-patent with brass slider

A Stillman type with the adjuster wheel vertical.  Unknown maker, unmarked
Stillman type with fancy cut-out thumbscrews large 10" long
Hand made Stillman type
Samuel Knight Patent Oct 28, 1873 # 144,111

Combination saw set and Joiner.  The file was inserted into the piece located in the handle shown in the second picture.

John Begbie adjustable marked Patent pending with end stop
T. C. Bush Patent Dec 18, 1855 #13,938
Edward Mershon Patent Oct 15, 1912 # 1,041,321

William Dessureau patent July 14, 1885 # 322,165

Combination saw set & raker gage three different examples shown



Sold as McDonald's patent

Advertisement from 1899 Hibbard, Spencer, Bartlett & Co. Catalog

Disston combination saw set & raker gage



Scan from the 1893 Disston Hand-book For Lumbermen

David Logan patent Nov 18, 1884 #308,082
Eben Boynton Patent Jun 20, 1876 #178,832 for combination file/wrest

Carl Kardell Patent Jun 20, 1893 # 499,789 from Sept 9, 1893 Scientific American

Click on the picture for the full page

Bemis & Call H & T Co

For more information on Bemis & Call

Bemis & Call H & T Co With stop

German wrest with adjustable stop

Onesime Racine Patent Jul 7, 1925 # 1,545,011

Simonds adjustable double sided on top, single sided on the bottom large 18 1/2" long



Advertisement from 1943 Simonds catalog

Onesime Racine Patent Jul 7, 1925 # 1,545,011

Simonds adjustable small sized


John Whisler Patent Feb 14, 1928 # 1,659,419

Big 4 saw set

John Smith Patent May 5, 1874 # 150,626

Small and large size shown


Simonds wrest part of a crosscut saw sharpening kit

Hand made wrests note remains of wood rasp on bottom one

Common English wrest with boxwood handle Sheffield stamped on blade

Note pronged screw driver for tightening saw handle nuts

Wrest marked W & C Wynn Warranted cast steel Made in England

Cast iron wrest unknown maker 8" long

Wrest marked Slater with old handmade wooden handle

Unmarked wrest

Large wrest unknown maker 13" long

Waller saw set.  By pushing the handle back and forth the set advances and sets left and right teeth.

John A. Waller Patent Mar 7, 1933   #1,900,083

Marble's Arms saw set

William Swainston Patent Mar 3, 1914 # 1,088,941

This saw set never appeared in any of the Marbles catalogs only as a flyer insert

William Clendonen Patent Jun 4, 1907 #855,616
Enoch Lutz Patent July 28, 1874 # 153,585.  Photo supplied by Tim Bonelli